5 Minute Friday: Leave

Alzheimer’s/Caregivers Blog Tour, & 5 Minute Friday

Caregiver's month

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million (Alzheimer’s Association, 2014). The Author Community of Helping Hands Press is getting involved in November, and hopes to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

Starting Nov. 3rd, with Anne Baxter Campbell’s blog post and Sue Badeau’s appearance on blogtalk radio, and finishing on Nov. 25th with Mark Venturini’s blog post, many of the authors in the Helping Hands Press Community will be sharing their personal stories.

Take time to tour the blogs and increase your awareness.

Here is the list:

Nov.3rd-Anne Baxter Campbell- http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/

Nov.4th –Doris Gaines Rapp- http://dorisgainesrapp.blogspot.com/

Nov.5th-Marcia Lee Laycock- http://marcialeelaycock.com/thespur/

Nov. 6th –Ruth L. Snyder- http://ruthlsnyder.com/

Nov. 7th –Sheila Seiler Lagrand- http://sheilalagrand.com/

Nov. 8th –Giovanni Gelati- http://gelatisscoop.blogspot.com/

Nov. 10th –Cindy Noonan- http://www.cindynoonan.com/

Nov. 11th-Sue Badeau- http://suebadeau.webs.com/apps/blog/

Nov. 12th-Peggy Blann Phifer- http://www.whispersinpurple.com/

Nov. 13th-Sandy Sieber- http://pahistorybooks.blogspot.com/

Nov. 13th– Joy Ross Davis- http://joyrossdavis.com/blog/

Nov.14th –Karen Gass- http://www.cottonspice.net/

Nov. 17th –Patti J. Smith- http://gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/

Nov. 18th-Tracy Krauss- http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/

Nov.19th –Melanie M. Jeschke- http://melaniejeschke.blogspot.com/

Nov. 20th-Richard L. Allen – http://www.christianwritergroup.com

Nov.21st– Andrea J. Graham- http://www.christsglory.com/

5 Minute Friday

5 Minute Friday: Leave

Leave is a word that has negative connotations for me. I spent the early years of my life as a missionary kid – my parents were missionaries in southern Africa until I was 11. To be a missionary family, you LEAVE many things and people you love to serve God. I came to hate the word, “Goodbye,” because that meant that we were LEAVING again. Leaving friends, leaving familiar places, leaving things I enjoyed.

Now that I’m older, I realize that leaving doesn’t have to be negative. Sometimes we NEED to LEAVE things behind – bad habits, sin, choices that aren’t the best. When we are willing to leave these things behind, it frees us to be the person we should be.

I’m grateful for God’s patience. (And now it’s time for me to leave this exercise, because the timer’s ringing!)

5 Minute Friday is a weekly challenge for bloggers to write for (you guessed it) 5 minutes on a given word. No editing. No deleting (it’s HARD!). If you would like to join me and other amazing 5 minute free writing friends, please visit Kate’s blog and linkup!


Uplifting Devotionals for Parents: #1 on Amazon and receiving great reviews

Uplifting Devotionals for Parents #1 on Amazon Hot New Releases

Thank you to everyone who has purchased my newest release, Uplifting Devotionals for Parents. You helped me hit #1 on the Amazon Hot New Releases list! Uplifting Devotionals for Parents also made the Amazon Bestseller list for devotionals in both the e-book (#7) and book (#33) categories. Here are some reviews for the e-book:

“To me, Ruth Snyder’s Uplifting Devotionals for Parents is something new in the way of devotionals – a mixture of autobiography and sheer good sense, tied in with appropriate quotations from Scripture. Ruth Snyder looks at her own life, recognizes her needs, understands that others have the same needs and shares the wisdom she has discovered in the Bible.
Particular takeaways:
• We should share our journey with other woman who will be brutally honest with us,
• Quiet time is important – nurturing our own walk equips us to nurture our children.
She writes with a light touch and a lot of humour about the chaos that reigns in her household. I enjoyed learning about the hectic, beautiful, spirit-filled life of this kind and loving woman of God.” (Bobbie Cole)
“Ruth Snyder writes of life with kids in a clear and conversational tone that is a pleasure to read. Her thoughts are sure to draw parents closer to God as they relate to her day-to-day experiences and ponder how she copes. Parenting isn’t easy. These stories will help.” (Marcia Laycock)
“Though it’s very short, there are many rich, life-changing lessons packed into “Uplifting Devotionals …” The author shares from personal experience and yet, the lessons are important for all Christian parents. I would love to have had these devotionals when my children were growing up. My #1 “complaint” is that this work too short. I would love to see an expanded version. It may be a quick read, but the lessons – if learned and applied – will last a lifetime.” (Steph Beth)
“If you think you’re the only parent whose kids …… you’ll want to read Ruth Snyder’s Uplifting Devotionals for Parents. Her honesty and humour in dealing with a rowdy, dynamic, and very normal family brings God’s love into perspective in a gentle, accepting, and most of all, believable way. Parents, grandparents, and anyone who knows anyone raising kids will enjoy this short, but, yes, uplifting book.” (Bobbi)
“I could not stop reading until I read the whole thing. I enjoyed very much reading it, because it brought back memories for me when my children were growing up. We had five children and many foster children.
You become very vulnerable when you have special needs children  and it was good to read how you are dealing with some of the situations. There is a need for instructions to parents of children who have special needs.” (Addy Oberlin)
You can purchase your copy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com. If you prefer to hold a paperback in your hands, be patient – Uplifting Devotionals for Parents will be released in paperback format along with devotionals from four fellow Canadian authors soon.

New Release: Uplifting Devotionals for Parents

Uplifting Devotionals for Parents Cover

I’m happy to announce that Uplifting Devotionals for Parents is now available as an e-book. Have you ever wanted to resign from parenting? The responsibility is overwhelming some days. Thankfully, we don’t have to parent in our own strength. God walks with us each day, strengthening us, guiding us, and giving us wisdom – if we ask. As you’ll see in these readings, I’m still learning. My prayer is that God will use these devotionals to provide encouragement, help, and joy in your parenting journey.

Here are a few snippets:

  • Some of life’s greatest lessons are taught not by what happens but by how I respond in messy situations.Nurturing walk with God
  • People who parent children with special needs perform a delicate dance each day, taking into account the individual needs of each child while also making sure necessary tasks are accomplished.
  • I need to nurture my own walk with God in order to effectively teach my children to do the same.
  • When we accept God’s free gift of salvation, He provides His presence every day, an eternal home in heaven, perfect love, incredible hope, an advocate, an inheritance out of this world, and an amazing family.
  • When life is tough and parenting is a struggle, we need to choose to love anyway.
  • My top priority as a parent is teaching my children about God and preparing the soil of their hearts to have a personal relationship with Him.
  • Christmas is not about chocolate, or presents, or trees, or anything else. It’s about the King, Jesus Christ.

If you would like free graphics of the above quotes to enjoy personally or share on social media, please send me an email with “Devotional graphics” in the subject line.

Purchase in Canada: Amazon.ca

Purchase in the U.S.A.: Amazon.com

Uplifting Devotional Cover

If you prefer paperback, these devotionals will be included in a devotional bundle written by fellow Canadian authors: Murray Pura, Tracy Krauss, Marcia Lee Laycock, Janice L. Dick, and me. This book is scheduled to be released in the near future.

5 Minute Friday Post – Dare

“Dare to be a Daniel”

“Dare to be different”

“Dare to stand up for what you believe”

“I dare you.”

“How dare you?”

Dare involves some sort of challenge. Risk. Change. Uncertainty.

But with the possibility of fame, big or small. A chance to stand out. To be a leader.

Some dares are public. Like walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope, pushing a wheelbarrow. Or taking a dare from people who call themselves friends, but really just want to get you in trouble. Or taking a stand for what you believe, even if you know it’s not popular. Like Daniel, who decided he was going to follow God and not eat the fancy food the king was serving. Daniel, who was basically a slave, a captive in a foreign land. Dared. Will I?

5 Minute Friday is a weekly challenge for bloggers to write for (you guessed it) 5 minutes on a given word. No editing. No deleting (it’s HARD!). If you would like to join me and other amazing 5 minute free writing friends, please visit Kate’s blog and linkup!


Critiques and Reviews: two ways to help Writers

Review quote from J C Oates

As a writer, I’m all too aware of my humanness. I know I’m not perfect. When I try to critique or proofread my own writing, it doesn’t work very well. I miss things that are obvious.I’m thankful that I have people in my life who are willing to give me honest feedback on my writing.

If you want to help your writer friends, offer to help them by providing a critique or a review. Others may differ in their definitions, but I see the two as different. When I’m asking for ways to improve my writing BEFORE something is published, I’ll ask for a critique. When I’m asking for a review, I’d like people to tell others why they should or shouldn’t read what I wrote AFTER it is published.

Critiques

Dictionary.com defines a critique as:

“An article or essay criticizing a literary or other work; detailed evaluation; review.”
Criticize:

“1. to censure or find fault with.
2. to judge or discuss the merits and faults of:

to criticize three novels in one review.”

I expect people to be critical, but also tell me what they like about my writing. I want to know:

  • Does my title accurately describe what I’m talking about?
  • Do I grab the reader and keep his attention?
  • Am I communicating clearly?
  • Are there points that need to be reworked?
  • Does the storyline make sense?
  • Are my facts accurate?
  • Do I have any passive sentences?
  • Am I using any cliches that need to be reworked?
  • Have I chosen words that convey the right mood?
  • Is my grammar correct?
  • Is my reasoning clear?
  • Do I have typos or typesetting that need to be corrected?
  • What descriptions did you like?
  • Can you picture what I’m writing about?
  • Did my writing evoke emotion? How?

Some helpful comments from recent critiques:

  1. I want to “see” Jack’s immediate reaction – to be inside his skin. Maybe add. . .
  2. It has good vocabulary, though controlled for the age, familiar objects and activities, and action that children can relate to.
  3. I would like to see the Dad more involved if possible. You talk mostly about Your experiences with the children. Maybe now you should write one for the Dads and let your husband share some of his thoughts.
  4. I was trying to figure out is the theme to show independence and responsibility in something a child of this age can do? Or did I miss the boat?

Remember: When you offer a critique, make sure you’re kind as well as honest. Help the author improve what they’ve written, but make sure you tell the author what you like and what he or she has done well.

Reviews

Many readers read reviews to help decide whether or not to purchase a paperback or e-book. I appreciate people who are willing to exchange a free copy of a book for an honest review. (Note: If you would like to join my list of reviewers, send me an e-mail!) When a book or article has all 5-star reviews, I get suspicious. Most books and authors are not perfect! However, you should be careful about being “nitpicky” when doing reviews as well. Be gracious, but honest.

Intelligent review

Amazon.ca has this to say about writing reviews:

“Tips on writing a great review

  1. Include the “why”: The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product, but also why. Feel free to talk about related products and how this item compares to them.
  2. Be specific: Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it.
  3. Not too short, not too long: Written reviews are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words.
  4. Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product–positive or negative. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.”

If you read a book and appreciate what the author has to say, make sure you write a review. This not only informs potential readers, but also encourages the author to keep writing and/or to try harder next time.

Here are some reviews I’ve appreciated. Notice how specific the reviewers are about what they like:

  • She writes with a light touch and a lot of humour about the chaos that reigns in her household.
  • The author’s personal experience living in Africa lends a powerful authenticity to the story.
  • The details of the foreign setting help us feel the scorching heat, smell the stench of sickness and decaying flesh, and experience Cecile’s nervousness as she faces government officials who are determined to shut her clinic down.
  • There were lots of lose ends and they come together naturally and with the right amount of believability. It was romantic without being over the top.
  • Ruth L. Snyder takes us on a fast-paced ride with dizzying plot twists. Read it.

Do you offer critiques or reviews? What advice would you add?

 


Enjoying God’s Art Show

This morning as we were eating breakfast, the sunrise was breathtaking. I snapped a few pictures to share with you. Enjoy your day!

Sunrise 1
The streaks in the sky caught my attention

 

Sunrise 2
Time to take some pictures!

 

 

Sunrise 3
Amazing beauty and depth of colour
The colour is moving up higher in the sky
The colour is moving up higher in the sky

 

 

Clouds to the south reflecting the sunrise
Clouds to the south reflecting the sunrise

 

Clouds to the south west reflecting the sunrise
Clouds to the south west reflecting the sunrise

Psalm 32:8

Watching for guidance and direction

Psalm 32:8

As some of you know, my parents were missionaries during my early years. This meant that we often spent time in other people’s homes with different rules and expectations. My siblings and I knew we were expected to be on our best behaviour at all times. We learned to keep our focus on our Dad. When we were asked a question, or wanted to do something, we would check his eyes. My Dad had an uncanny ability to communicate clearly without saying a word.

I think of those experiences when I read Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

I’m now much older and away from the direct guidance of my earthly father. Instead, I look to my Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. I have to spend time with Him and pay attention to what He’s showing me to do.

In my work with InScribe, I often feel unqualified to lead. God continues to remind me that He has called me and He will equip me and guide me. This is His organization. He is the one who works in and through the executive and members to proclaim His Word. As we continue to keep our eyes on Him He will continue to counsel us with His loving eyes.

NOTE: I shared this devotional at the beginning of the recent InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Annual General Meeting.


Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Long

Five Minute Friday

This is my first attempt at 5 Minute Friday:

Long means something different to each person. When we are young:

long is waiting until our parents are done talking

long is driving a few miles (Will we ever get there?)

long is waiting for supper when you’re hungry, especially when Mom tells you no snacks are allowed!

long is waiting until you’re old enough to go to school

long is waiting for Christmas to arrive

As we grow older, the definition changes:

long is waiting several years for something

long is having to run any distance more than across the yard

long is a feeling you have when you think of wanting to spend time with people who are no longer alive.

(I have to admit that I broke a couple of the rules – I found myself overthinking, and I did backspace a couple times. I’m looking forward to continuing with this challenge. Maybe next time I’ll follow the rules better!)

5 Minute Friday is a weekly challenge for bloggers to write for (you guessed it) 5 minutes on a given word. No editing. No deleting (it’s HARD!). If you would like to join me and other amazing 5 minute freewriting friends, please visit Kate’s blog and linkup!

Intentional Blogging:

Want to learn more about blogging? Check out the Intentional Blogging Challenge!

 


Canadian Thanksgiving 2014: The blessings of family and Nature

One choice I’ve been consciously making this past year is to find things to thank God for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not because of the food, but because it gives me an opportunity to really focus on the many blessings in my life.

This past weekend my husband and I decided to take our children to Three Hills to spend time with my parents and two of my nieces. The week before Thanksgiving was hectic for both of us. In fact, we planned to leave at 1 p.m. and finally made it out of our yard at 4 p.m. However, making the trip was well worth it. Here are some of the blessings enjoyed this weekend.

Rainbow
A rainbow – the first of many wonderful surprises I encountered over the weekend.
Cockatoo
A cockatoo at the Three Hills Guzoo delighted us with its clever sayings
Dandelion gone to seed
Another unexpected delight
Skunk
Holding a skunk? Don’t worry, this one was de-scented 🙂
Sunrise
This beautiful sunrise greeted me when I stepped out of our camper on Sunday morning.
Fall scenery
My dad and I enjoyed the fall scenery by taking a walk
Ruth's parents
We enjoyed conversations, food, singing, and laughter with my parents
Ruth's nieces
Although my sister is in Africa, her two oldest daughters are in Canada. It was good to spend time with them this weekend. We especially enjoyed singing together.
camp fire
What’s camping without a campfire. Yet another delight we were able to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend.